Professional YouTube Encode Settings: The Definitive Answer

Optimizing my videos for the best possible encoding quality for YouTube, Vimeo and every other video portal is something that has vexed me for a while, especially since following the conventional wisdom of h.264 at 8mbps has always produced what I feel are inferior results. Of course, these are the long standing specs YouTube has put out there themselves, and if you look at NLE’s like Apple’s Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro they even have default YouTube output settings similar to these specs.

If you are only interested in the standard specifications for YouTube uploads they can be found here, but while I fully understand that these are optimal settings for home users and hobbyists, as professionals we must strive to achieve the highest possible quality, even at the cost of convenience. YouTube’s Advanced Encoding Specifications do a very good job of laying out exactly how all of their high-end enterprise content providers make their videos that seem that much better than the rest, and it has the added benefit of coming straight from the horses mouth.